Education Foundation holds annual Boots & Buckles Gala
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The Copperas Cove Education Foundation lit up the Copperas Cove Civic Center for the fifth annual Boots & Buckles Gala to raise funds for CCISD teacher grants.
The meal was served by True Texas Barbecue, with local businesses Giovanni’s, Wing Stop, H-E-B, and Philly Pretzel Factory providing a variety of appetizers prior to the dinner.
The event was also to recognize two Copperas Cove alumni for the foundation’s inaugural Hall of Honor.
John A. Hull and Dr. Karen Harrison were selected from among the nominations to have their names installed on plaques that will hang in Lea Ledger Auditorium.
Hull is an alum of the Copperas Cove class of 1950 and studied accounting before going to work as a photographer on Fort Hood for many years. He is a former Copperas Cove mayor, councilman, and school board member, as well as former Coryell County commissioner and judge.
“If you have known John A. for very long, you have become a lifelong friend of his, and you know he really, really cares about Copperas Cove and the people here,” said CCISD Superintendent Joe Burns about Hull.
Hull thanked the committee and also acknowledged his fellow Hall of Honor recipient.
I’ve always tried to do what’s right, especially anything to do with the city of Copperas Cove,” Hull told the crowd. “Back in the 50s when I went to Copperas Cove, we had outdoor restrooms, we heated the building with coal, but we made it, and I think that was the best thing that could have happened to all of us. We knew where we had come from.”
Harrison graduated with the CCHS class of 1988, is an alum of Baylor University and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and completed her internal medicine residency at East Carolina University/Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, North Carolina. She has practiced in Copperas Cove in Internal Medicine since 2007 and helped found the Cove House Free Clinic. Both she and her husband, Dr. Raymond Harrison, have worked in the Baylor Scott & White Clinic in Copperas Cove since its opening in 2014. She is also a third-generation member of the CCISD board of trustees.
“If you know Dr. Harrison, you would agree with me as my mother used to say, pretty is as pretty does. Karen is a pretty person; she does wonderful things for those in the community…she comes from a legacy of people who serve,” Burns said, also noting her commitment to providing medical services to the uninsured in the community in addition to her support for education.
Harrison thanked her parents for the “great gift” of education and their commitment and sacrifice to graduate debt-free, and never letting her give up when things got hard. She also said her older brother taught her to be tenacious and tough.
“But later on, when I was in training, and often I was the only woman in a room full of egotistical surgeons, I held my own,” Harrison said.
Harrison said when she graduated from Copperas Cove, she went away to college and never intended to come back. But then, when in her residency in rural North Carolina, she visited small hospitals and saw the staff had a sense of community, knowing everyone and knew everything about the patients and their families.
“I thought I had discovered some profound key to taking care of patients. There was a connectedness to taking care of everyone,” Harrison said. “I sat back and realized I had that same connectedness in my hometown of Copperas Cove Texas, so I worked my way back to the very place I so desperately wanted to leave.”
In addition to presenting Hull and Harrison with their awards, the evening also featured a large silent auction as well as a live auction. Items were donated for the auction by alumni and local businesses.
One hot item was the opportunity for Coleen Timmons to make a quilt from the top bidder’s t-shirts, with that item going for $900.
Another item, a painting of Texas wildflowers created by 1969 alum Bill Alexander, went for $325.
Along with the auctions, gala attendees had the chance to complete donations forms.
Funds raised will go toward funding teacher grants in CCISD along with scholarships and the CCHS Senior Walk of Fame. Since the foundation’s creation in 2008, a total of $309,072 in have been distributed annually each fall for teaching grants to CCISD educators.